Coverage fails to fix Novopay saga

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
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FAIRFAX NZ

LESLEY LONGSTONE: Calm in the face of a horrible job.

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You've got to hand it to Lesley Longstone for consenting to once again front Campbell Live and get hauled over the coals by its host over the Education Ministry's No Pay (Novopay) scandal.

Looking a whiter shade of pale, the secretary of education was on a hiding to nothing as she tried to justify the non-payment to a woman who had previously appeared on the show and been assured her pay would go through this past Wednesday. It hadn't.

In the old days drawing attention to genuine grievances brought to the attention by, and featured on, current affairs programmes, assured a swift resolution to demonstrate a mistake had been rectified, thus restoring confidence in public institutions.

Not so in this case, as Longstone who had given a public assurance to the cash-strapped affected that all would be well in the next pay run, was proved a liar when education employees found the cupboard bare yet again. Obviously "the Sheffield lass" is not au fait with the late L V Martin expression: "It's the putting it right that counts."

With the long holiday break drawing near and unpaid education staff having to cancel Christmas, perhaps the Campbell Live audience could be invited to text in a $3 donation towards education staff holiday pay as the audience did for the KidsCan Lunch Box appeal? Perhaps donation boxes could be set up at supermarkets for shoppers to offload food towards education workers so they and their families don't go hungry over the summer break? New Zealanders, known for their generosity, could be asked to sponsor a chalkie and receive a photograph of a teacher and correspondence from them on their pay progress in return.

The question that hasn't been asked is why during negotiations with Novopay, the Education Ministry didn't insist on dummy runs of the new system before the grand and disastrous experiment was inflicted on public servants.

■ Why has TV One decided to screen the latest season of The Closer on a Tuesday night at 11.10pm when it could play it in the 8.30pm Thursday night slot, which is currently housing a rerun of Person of Interest. You can't tell me that the ratings of a recent repeat would exceed that of a new season of an award-winning crime show.

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- The Dominion Post

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